Do you have plans to travel to the Holy Land soon? This is one travel destination that needs a substantial amount of planning if you are to enjoy all that’s in mind. Check out this comprehensive guide.
Traveling can be fun and fulfilling. However, what you do before you travel determines how much you enjoy.
For instance, you undoubtedly need a clear plan of where you are traveling, what you will do there, how long the stay will last, how much you want to spend, and so on. Covering all these parameters ensures a successful trip without having to change much in between.
The Holy Land is one of the most visited tourist and pilgrimage destinations worldwide. And like any other destination, prior planning is paramount. But not to worry!
If you have an upcoming tour to the Holy Land, this piece is all you need. Today I will show you exactly what I had to do to travel to the Holy Land.
This isn’t an exact science, as everyone has different needs and goals. However, it should give you some idea of the process I went through to get you to the Holy Land.
Table of Contents
The first thing was to work out what my goal was. I also knew I would need to get my wife somewhere during this trip, so the plan had to allow for that. Here is what I ended up with:
My wife needed to go to Jordan while I wanted to visit Jerusalem. Both of us wanted to see as much of the country as possible, and I also wanted to visit Bethlehem.
Now, Bethlehem was a significant place for us to visit. And the whole family knew that. I love Israel, so I wanted to see as much of the country as possible.
Identifying the exact cities and spots we wanted to tour while in the Holy Land made things pretty easy during the trip. And since this was a family trip, it helped everyone get a piece of what they longed for.
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How to Travel to the Holy Land in Steps
After you have a list of the places you want to visit, the next steps will also be as crucial. Check out these main points.
1. List all Possible Airlines
As soon as I knew I would be traveling to the Holy Land, I quickly started gathering information about all the available airlines. With this information, I could see which flights were readily available and which I needed to book much earlier. I recommend booking as early as possible since the country is quite popular and flights can be limited.
2. I Mapped out all of the Flight Routes
When I had my list of airlines, I began to map out the possible flight routes and figure out the distances I would need to go. Again, there was no exact science to this.
Using the distance measurement tools on Google Maps allowed me to see roughly what distance I would need to travel to get from one destination to another. This was a huge help in knowing if I needed to take a plane from one city to the other.
3. Work with a Travel Agent
When I saw that the flight routes would be a bit far, I decided to reach out to a travel agent. This was the best thing I could have done.
The travel agent knew what I was looking for and could tell me what flights would be the best option. If I had continued researching flights, I probably wouldn’t have known all the options. This would have prevented me from getting the best flight.
Plus, the agent showed me routes that I was not aware of and had routes that I knew would be perfect for my family. It made everything easy for me.
If you are looking for cheaper flights, Scott’s Cheap Flights is an excellent platform. It updates you on all the available cheap flights allowing you to save significantly.
4. Book your Flights
When the travel agent told me which flight would be the best option, I booked my flight with Emirates Airline. This was the only airline that worked out well. However, it wasn’t always this easy.
When booking flights, you also need to take into consideration layover times. The greater the distance you travel, the longer the layover will be. Keep in mind that layover times also need to be factored in if you are traveling in a group.
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5. Get Yourself Accommodation
Once you are in Israel, you will need a place to relax and lay your head. This was very important for me because I was traveling with a few people.
The choice came easily as Booking.com offered free cancellation up until the day of arrival. This meant that if I changed my mind, then I could cancel it and get a refund. And the best thing is you get the best accommodation options out there.
Some of the best options here, based on your preferred tourist sites, include;
If you want excellent accommodation in Jerusalem’s Old City, Legatia fits the bill. Even better, it’s conveniently located near famous landmarks like the Dome of the Rock and the Western Wall. This way, touring these amazing sites takes you just a few minutes walk.
The hotel features air-conditioned rooms with WiFi and a well-equipped kitchen. It also boasts a patio or a dining area in each unit. And did I mention the private bathrooms?
Legatia hotel is also just 54 km from the Ben Gurion International Airport. This makes it convenient as you don’t have to drive for long after landing. It is rated 9.9 stars out of 10 and is a couple’s favorite.
Ganim by Isrotel Collection
If the first thing you want to do in the Holy Land is to swim in the salty waters of the Dead Sea, then you can book your stay at Ganim by Isrotel Collection. The hotel is set just a 2-minute walk from the shores of the famous Dead Sea.
With amenities like two indoor swimming pools, plenty of parking space, and spa treatments, it’s easy to see why tourists give it an 8.8 stars rating. The rooms also have a free WiFi connection, are air-conditioned, and you can enjoy your private bathroom with a bath and shower.
Other amenities worth noting include the two hot tubs, sensory showers, and a dry sauna. Plus, it features salty and freshwater swimming pools for both kids and adults.
Lastly, the food here is simply mouthwatering. Whether you are into white or brown meat or vegetarian, your appetite is well looked out for.
King Solomon Hotel Tiberias
The Sea of Galilee is a famous spot for several reasons. It is not only where Jesus was baptized, and the Holy Spirit descended on him as a dove, but it’s also where he helped his disciples catch fish.
Booking a stay at the King Solomon Hotel gives you the easiest chance to see all these spots as it’s just 2 km away. Additionally, the hotel boasts numerous features like a sun terrace, a seasonal swimming pool, air-conditioned rooms, and free WiFi.
The rooms are also elegantly decorated, which makes your stay even more relaxing. And if you want to order a delicious meal or drink, the place has a restaurant and a stocked bar to ensure you are sorted.
Personally, I did not get travel insurance for this trip. However, I would recommend you get this, just in case. I have had friends in countries where they have been turned away for treatment because they didn’t have the right insurance.
For the best travel insurance covers, try out Aardy Travel Insurance or Travelinsurance.com. These two offer numerous benefits that make your trip more stress-free, right from flight cancellations, medical emergencies, evacuation costs, or even theft.
By now, your plane will be leaving, and your gate information will be sent to you. Make sure to check this information and check to see if you are following your route. This is really important; otherwise, you will have nowhere to go from there.
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How to Get to Israel
Traveling to Israel from the US is an easy process. There are direct flights to Tel Aviv and Amman, although some airlines offer layovers in European countries like France or Germany.
It’s important to note that you will require a visa before traveling, plus a valid passport and proof of having enough funds for your stay. Be sure to check with the relevant embassies for more information on what documents you need.
The main airport in Israel is the Ben Gurion Airport. It’s located 15 km from Tel Aviv and has flights arriving from different countries worldwide. The newly built Ramon Airport in Eilat is another option for flying to Israel.
But that’s not all. Besides flying in, you can also enter the Holy Land through land border crossings in Egypt and Jordan. These are common for tourists traveling from Africa and the Middle East. Therefore, if you travel from a country without direct flights to Tel Aviv, you can fly to Amman or Cairo and connect through the land border crossings.
Getting Around Israel
Getting to Israel is one thing. Getting around this beautiful country is another.
The easiest way to enjoy the splendor of the Holy Land is by joining one of the many-day tours or taking a car rental. You can decide to book a hotel in one place and then take day trips from here. Better still, you can choose to travel to different cities and book accommodation wherever the evenings find you.
There are also numerous private and VIP tours you can opt for if you want a more personal experience. These will include dedicated drivers who might double as tour guides. However, be prepared to stretch your budget as it will cost more.
You also don’t have to worry when you opt for a car rental. Most car rental companies have branches in or near the airport. This option can be pretty convenient if you are traveling as a family or as a group.
Lastly, if these two don’t appeal to you, there is another cheaper option – the Israeli train and bus networks. The train network is quite comfortable and traverses most of the major cities in the country.
The bus network is also extensive, covering most of the cities. The only drawback with public transport here is that it can be scarce on Fridays and Saturdays, especially during the evening.
When is the best Time to Visit the Holy Land?
The best time to visit Israel is between September and November (fall) or from March to May (spring). These two periods offer the best weather compared to other months that can get either too hot or unpleasantly rainy. Also, as there are fewer tourist crowds during these periods, accommodation costs usually go down.
If you wish to visit the country during summer, which is what many people do, be ready to deal with the hot temperatures and higher costs. There are also huge crowds during these times, which might not be ideal for people who love calmness.
How much Does it Cost to Visit the Holy Land?
The cost of visiting the Holy Land varies greatly depending on your travel plan and itinerary. Generally, it costs between $ 3,000-$ 4,250 for a 5-day luxury trip. This includes accommodation, local transportation, meals, and entrance fees to all attractions you visit.
On the other hand, an economy trip can cost around $150 a day, meaning $750 for five days will be sufficient without airfare. For a standard tour, around $300 a day will be enough.
It’s, however, essential to budget a bit more than what is mentioned above. Remember, there are plenty of extra expenses like souvenirs and other items you may purchase during your stay.
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Best Holy Land Tours
Any time in Israel is a travel season. The place is always busy with tourists looking to have the time of their lives. Christian pilgrims also visit the place to nourish their faith and to experience the source of their faith.
For the few times I have been in Israel, I can tell you with certainty that there is something for everyone here. Whether you plan a solo, family, or small group tour, this country has some of the best places to visit and see. However, with all the tourist attractions, you need some guidance, lest you get overwhelmed.
The following Holy Land tours will ensure that you cover much of what you want. Whether it’s swimming in the highly salty Dead Sea, touring the tunnels near the Western Wall, or visiting popular cities like Tel Aviv, you are all sorted.
1. Masada & Dead Sea From Tel Aviv: Full-Day Tour
Usually, the tour to Masada and the Dead Sea starts from Jerusalem. However, if you are in Tel Aviv or nearby areas, then this tour is ideal for you. It allows you to witness two of Israel’s most iconic sites without navigating the country’s length.
The first site you visit is the legendary fortress of Masada, located on a mountain. You can then take a cable car to ascend it and explore the ruins.
Afterward, you will be led to the Dead Sea – one of the planet’s most fascinating natural wonders. And because of its high buoyancy levels, you can swim in its salty waters or simply float atop them. The experience is fascinating and will stay with you for years to come.
This guided tour to Israel treats your eyes to some of the fascinating sights on Earth. And besides the panoramic views from 1,300 feet, you also learn about the famous King Herod. You’ll even have the chance to visit the Qumran caves and see the origin of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
As for accommodation, the Daniel Dead Sea Hotel is conveniently located near the Dead Sea. This way, after all the day’s excitement, you can have a calm night’s sleep for the next day’s adventures.
2. Amman: Petra, Wadi Rum, and Dead Sea 2-Day Tour
If you have two days to spare, then this tour is perfect for you. This time, it begins in Amman and explores some of the most beautiful sites in Jordan and Israel.
You will start with a visit to Petra, an ancient city carved out of pink-red sandstone rocks. Here, you will explore its ruins and feel like an explorer from ancient times. Watch as your eyes take in the beauty before them!
The next stop is Wadi Rum which brings about majestic desert landscapes unlike anything else on Earth. You will also get an opportunity to ride a camel across these picturesque landscapes before arriving at the Dead Sea.
This two-day tour covers all the best places in Jordan and Israel and is a must-do for anyone traveling in the region. For me, it was a truly remarkable experience that I would highly recommend to anyone taking Israel or Jordan tour. It was an enlightening journey into the history and culture of these two nations while also providing breathtaking views along the way.
3. Jerusalem and Bethlehem Guided Day Trip from Tel Aviv
Since Bethlehem was a must-visit city for me, I had to join this one-day Caravan. The tour took us through some of the most stunning attractions in Jerusalem (the Holy City), and we got to visit Bethlehem, the birth city of King David and Jesus Christ. I can tell you the tour was more than fulfilling.
The main attractions in Jerusalem include;
- The panoramic views from Mount Scopus that overlooks the new Jerusalem
- The impressive view of the old city’s Mount Esplanade
- The Garden of Gethsemane
- The Wailing Wall square
- Church of the Holy Sepulcher
- Via Dolorosa
As you enter Bethlehem, or the “Bread City,” more attractions await you. For instance, you’ll see the Basilica of the Nativity, built over the cave where Jesus was born, and the Manger Square, a vibrant area with traditional shops, eateries, and cafes.
And the best thing? You will have a professional guide throughout this Holy Land tour. So, whatever you’ve wanted to ask about the Holy Land, you can get it clarified here.
4. Guided Day Trip to Nazareth & Sea of Galilee
The Sea of Galilee offers the best opportunity for those who wish to visit early Jesus’ Ministry sites. This breathtaking Holy Land Israel tour starts from Tel Aviv and takes you through the scenic plain of Armageddon as you journey to Nazareth.
As you tour the city where Jesus was raised, you can visit the Church of St. Joseph’s carpentry and the Church of Annunciation. And that’s just the beginning.
As the tour continues, you come across more amazing sites like;
- The Mount of Beatitudes
- Tabgha’s famous Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish
- The Sea of Galilee
- Synagogue of Capernaum
Here you not only get to walk through a first-century Jewish city but also see where Jesus walked and performed his first miracles. This Holy Land tour ends with a visit to the Jordan River (site of baptism), which overlooks the Tiberias. And as you journey back to Tel Aviv, you’ll come across the site of transfiguration at Mt. Tabor.
5. New Jerusalem Tour
Imagine the sight of over 5000 years of rich history! That’s what this holy city tour offers. As such, exploring the city of Jerusalem is one of the most captivating experiences you can have.
Your eyes will be astonished by the centuries-old structures, artifacts, and historical sites that make up the city. This Holy Land Israel tour takes you through amazing sites like the Dome of the Rock, Zion Gate, and the Temple Mount. Plus, you get to ask all the questions you want, as you’ll be traveling with a professional guide.
I always believe that for some sites, you have to see them to believe. And Jerusalem offers such incredible sites.
During our tour of the city, my family and I also got to enjoy some of the most notable cuisines in the world. We even visited the famous Machane Yehuda market (a must-see in Jerusalem).
And to top it up, we toured the famous Yad Vashem Museum, one of the most moving places I’ve ever been. Visiting this museum is a must if you want to learn more about the history and culture of Jerusalem.
Is Israel safe to visit?
Yes, Israel is safe to visit. The country has a relatively low crime rate and is generally peaceful. However, it’s important to be cautious when traveling to any country, as risks are always involved.
What are the must-see attractions in Israel?
The must-see attractions in Israel include Jerusalem, Masada, the Dead Sea, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Nazareth, Bethlehem, Ein Gedi, and the Sea of Galilee.
What type of food is served in Israel?
The cuisine in Israel is quite diverse, with influences from both Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes. Popular dishes include falafel, hummus, shakshuka, malawach, and sabich. You will also find plenty of fresh fish, grilled meats, and seasonal fruits.
Is Israel an expensive country to visit?
It depends on your budget. Generally speaking, Israel is not overly expensive compared to other countries in the region. However, it can still be quite pricey if you plan to stay in luxury hotels and eat at high-end restaurants. It’s best to research and figure out what type of budget you have before planning your trip.